The microbiome refers to the collection of around 100 trillion microorganisms, including bacteria, that live on or inside the human body. Many of these bacteria are beneficial to us and essential to our survival. In the gut, they live on the membranous lining and break down our food and help protect us against infection.
This whole area has become a hot topic of research in many diseases, including ME/ CFS, but could the gut microbiome provide a biomarker for the disease?
That’s the tantalising prospect of a new study from researchers in the USA who found that multiple measures of the gut microbiome were altered in ME/CFS patients versus control subjects.
The study was published in the journal, Cell Host & Microbe.
In particular, levels of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Eubacterium rectale were reduced in ME/CFS. These bacteria are both involved in the production of butyrate, an anti-inflammatory that has a significant impact on gut health.
One consequence may be an impaired inability to control bacterial growth, and the researchers talk about a microbial network disturbance in ME/CFS.
Cort Johnson discusses these findings in more detail on his HealthRising blog.